The University is committed to ensuring students achieve the best possible academic outcomes from their studies. Therefore it is good practice to ensure that programmes delivered at Queen’s remain current and are enhanced as part of programme review procedures or in response to feedback from students and external examiners.
It is essential that students are involved in a programme’s quality assurance processes. Where a School is considering making major changes to programmes, consultation with all stakeholders, and in particular students, must take place. This consultation process should continue to be managed at School level, with student input through Staff Student Consultative Committee (SSCC) and Student representatives on School Education Committee.
Where a School wishes to make changes that will affect students currently on the programme, formal consultation with those students who may be directly affected by the proposed changes must take place. Advice may be sought from Academic Affairs.
A major change to a programme is defined as a change which has a substantial impact on the entire programme in terms of delivery, content and or learning outcomes. Schools are strongly advised to consult with Academic Affairs in advance regarding major changes to programmes as a cumulative effect of major changes may necessitate a Programme Evaluation Meeting (PEM).
The approved definitions of major changes at programme level are:
- Changes to the programme title and or/award.
- Introduction of Exit Routes or a new stream e.g. Major/Minor.
- Any changes to programme specific regulations or progression requirements, including any prescribed by an accrediting body.
- Significant changes to the mode of delivery (e.g. via introduction of flexible and distributed mode or an alternative learning experience).
- The removal of programme learning outcomes which are not appropriately substituted and which may impact on the student learning experience.
- Any changes to the structure of the programme via the removal and or addition of compulsory modules.
- Any major changes to compulsory modules.
Not all programme changes will affect offer holders and/or current students.
Schools will be required to have major changes to programmes submitted by 28 February for approval by the CRG by 31 March each year, where reasonably possible. Major changes should be considered at School level as part of programme management and should be reviewed by the relevant Faculty. Note: Faculty cannot approve changes to programmes – Faculty should review the changes in the context that they are satisfied that it can be referred (or not as the case may be) to CRG for approval.
To assist Schools, a Programme Amendment Form has been designed to capture the relevant information of the programme changes. This form should be submitted to the CRG as part of the routine programme changes documentation e.g. revised programme specifications submitted via Qsis; notification of changes to existing modules and withdrawal of modules and notification of new modules. Schools must use the documentation upload facility in the new programme specification Qsis functionality to do this.
All major changes to programmes must be approved by the Courses and Regulations Group (CRG). No requests for major changes will be considered by the CRG without the required documentation.
Where late changes are identified e.g. resource implications or major issues identified by late module review, Academic Affairs must be contacted to discuss the approval process and the impact with regards student offers and to programme specification publication.
Communication to Applicants
The Courses and Regulations Group will provide the Admissions and Access Service/MRCI with information that has been identified as an approved major change to a programme that requires communication to an applicant. These offer holders will be notified and given the option to withdraw from their contract with the University in sufficient time to seek an alternative offer before the 5 May UCAS undergraduate programmes deadline for accepting and rejecting offer.
Communication to Students
Major changes which occur while a programme is being taught are rare and usually at the request of a professional body. When this does occur students must be formally consulted prior to the change and directly informed once the change has been approved by the Courses and Regulations Group. Schools are responsible for ensuring that an internal communication plan is in place to inform students of major changes to programmes.